A New Toolkit for Your Vintage Moto

Upgrading history, subtly.

byMichael Frank|
A New Toolkit for Your Vintage Moto

Union Garage is a motorcycle clothing outfitter located in Red Hook, Brooklyn. If you don’t know the ’hood, the shorthand is simple: the public transit is spotty at best. And yet, parking is crap, too. Hence, the perfect solution is a motorcycle. And, ideally, because, Brooklyn, a vintage BMW BMW R75/5. You’d buy that right next door to Union, at Moto Borgotaro, a restoration/service/sales shop specializing in vintage euro labels including BMW, Ducati, Laverda, Norton, Moto Guzzi and Triumph.

But if you’re into vintage bikes you know the truth: You’d better know how to turn wrenches yourself since OnStar isn’t coming to your rescue. Union Garage knows this truth, too, and given their fealty to all things Olde World, have recreated the factory toolkit that BMW gave gratis when you bought one of its R-Series Twin air heads.

The 50-piece set is an upgrade over what you got in the 1970s from BMW, with superior pliers from Portland, Oregon’s Leatherman, and Minnesota-made Bondhus Allen keys that, from our experience, are absolutely indestructible. Other modern additions include a 15-piece Chapman bit kit and a tiny, Topeak micro ratchet, plus Chapman screwdriver handle and extension with set-screws. The legacy bits include black phosphate-finished Heyco open-end wrenches. And, since this was clearly an obsessively researched project by Union, they’ve added a quarter-inch T-handle socket driver to push a fistful of chrome vanadium sockets, plus, just in case you’re really stuck, a pair of 8-inch-long steel tire levers.

The entire kit rolls into a rugged, waxed cotton bundle and, yes!, still fits beneath the seat of any vintage R air head.